This course will examine the nature of art and aesthetics as presented in the German Idealist Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the major philosophers instrumental in the formation of modern aesthetic thinking, and as applied to music in particular. The role of the mind and intelligence not only in aesthetic appreciation, evaluation, and judgment, but also in the act of creation itself will be emphasized. The significance of critical interpretation, rational argumentation, and intellectual contemplation for the understanding of beauty and the sublime generally, and for the experiencing of individual works of art, in classical sacred music particularly, will also be studied and analyzed. In the process of evaluating, analyzing, and discussing both philosophical texts and musical compositions, we will explore various theories of art—representational, expressivist, formalist, moral, and inspirational—as well as distinguish various substitutes for or counterfeits of art, including entertainment, propaganda, fashion, sensationalism, and kitsch. Other distinctions between and questions about subjective tastes and objective standards, aestheticism and philistinism, talent and genius, fancy and imagination, reason and intellection are to come under philosophical scrutiny. The approach or method in this course to the assigned material is text-centered discussion.
In this course, students explore Africana philosophy, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and moving through the diversity of the human condition within the continent of Africa itself, as well as the African Diaspora. Students analyze key readings and examine the fundamental dimensions of Africana philosophy. In particular, students explore Africana philosophy in terms of its history, method, logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, religion, and politics. Through analysis of texts and research, students learn about the major scholars and schools of Africana philosophical thought.
This course is an introduction to the method and spirit of philosophical inquiry involving the exploration of idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism, and the application of such inquiry to selected educational theories and practices.
This course introduces cultural anthropology, which is the study of living peoples, their beliefs, practices, values, ideas, technologies, economies, and more. Through a variety of theoretical approaches and research methods, students study the cultures of people across the world. Students examine human diversity and similarity and explore ways that observing real people in their local environment helps us understand humanity.
This course is a survey of the history, theory, and applications of general psychology, including the study of human behavior, factors in psychological development, methods of measurement, and the brain.
This course will examine the psychological, physiological, and sociological foundations of music and music therapy. Students will learn aspects of musical behavior and processing including the influence of music upon behavior, physiological and affective responses to music, perception and cognition of music, psychomotor components of music behavior, learning and development, and preference and creativity.
This course introduces the study of positive psychology, the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The major aims of this course are to understand what positive psychology is (how do we define positive psychology) and what the goals of this discipline are. More specifically we will cover positive psychology’s focus on balance and totality (looking at both sickness and wellness, how to both avoid the former and to promote the latter), promotion of positive outcomes (not just curbing negative outcomes) and reliance on scientific evidence (understanding psychological research methodology as well as the physiological, neurobiological and evolutionary underpinnings of topics). We will also touch on the social nature of humans, the communicability of positive stimuli, emotions and moods, and the most important pursuits in life (connecting with others, pursuing meaning, and experiencing some degree of pleasure or satisfaction).
This course explores the cultural life of homosexuality in America. What might it feel like to be gay or lesbian or queer, as both fantasized by heterosexuality and as lived by gays and lesbians? How is gay life different from straight experience? How do gays, lesbians, and queers understand themselves as gay? What are the aesthetics and sensibilities—losses, fantasies, desires, fears, and joys—which frame and enable gay identity, desire, and enjoyment, in the past, the present, and the future? This course addresses specifically gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, and bisexual selfhood and sociality in order to illuminate homosexual identities, desires, and pleasures. What is gay desire, both in culture, in history? How do homosexuals learn how to desire what they want to have and who they want to be? The purpose of the course is to illuminate the ways in which gayness expresses not simply a sexuality but also a personal lived experience through which queers grasp a sense of themselves and each other. In an historical and cultural examination of theory, philosophy, and literature, this course traces the transformations in gay culture over the latter half of the twentieth century to today. Does gayness have an essence, an identifiable center at its foundation which spans all spaces and times? Or, is queerness a playful masquerade in the negotiation of identity and desire in transient moments in culture and history? This course examines the modes of desire and demand, forms of identification and becoming, and styles of play and amusement through which gays, lesbians, and queers relate to themselves and each other. What does it mean to occupy the mind and the body—thinking, feeling, and being—of a gay individual? What does "gay" mean for straight outsiders and queer insiders? The horizon of the course is to enable us to better understand what we might mean when we say: “I am gay.” Who are we when we are homosexual? And who, "we"?
This course introduces musical genres, repertoire, composers, and performers that reflect or inspire various gender images and identities in society. Drawing on interdisciplinary discourse, this course provides a variety of sources regarding music and gender in society and facilitates discussion of these topics. Discussion will include otherness, marginalization, and gender identity in music using examples of historic and contemporary musicians as well as musical styles. Students will complete journal entries, essays, peer review editing, and group discussions.
Social Science Topics courses enable students to choose from a variety of course themes that change each semester. Courses may explore a topic or a discipline within the social sciences not currently covered in Liberal Arts courses. Individual course descriptions are available to registering students at www.berklee.edu/liberal-arts.
An analysis of supply and demand in the international music marketplace, as affecting issues of pricing, employment, the output of goods and services, and competition. Emphasis is also placed on the techniques of financial management found within a music-oriented business, including planning and forecasting, allocation of resources, and profit analysis, as well as the monetary transmission mechanisms found in international business. Note: For MBUS majors, this course can be used to fulfill the social science requirement for degree students.
This course considers country music's songwriters, performers, and business people and how they reflect or inspire vari ous gender images and identities in society. Drawing on interdisciplinary discourse, students explore a variety of sources regarding country music and gender in society and examine multiple perspectives. Students analyze the relationships among gendered identities, country music, its audiences, and the music industry. Students also synthesize these identities and other cultural factors to express their ideas about gendered identities in country music and in popular society.